Founded in 2006 as a digital video startup, Propeller evolved over the next 15 years into a well-regarded agency specializing in omnichannel strategy, content and delivery. To nobody’s surprise, the global marketing and communications networks took notice — and, in early 2022, the company was snapped up by Omnicom.

The healthy growth that likely caught Omnicom’s eye continued through a year of transition. Revenue surged from $15.6 million in 2021 to $26 million in 2022, a 67% jump, on the back of new engagements with Merck, SK Life Science and Intercept Pharmaceuticals. Propeller started the year with 85 full-time employees and ended it with 118. 

“What was awesome about 2022 is that it went in a positive direction,” says Propeller CEO and founder Charlie Flax. “We grew from a revenue and a people perspective, but bigger than our growth was the fact that we were able to transition into truly being a part of Omnicom Health Group.” 

Flax reports that Propeller’s integration proceeded without drama or second thoughts. “We didn’t lose the sense of who we are. That was one of the reasons we chose Omnicom Health Group, because it’s all about companies keeping their identities while still being part of a bigger whole.”

Flax points toward work on Janssen’s blockbuster Tremfya as particularly emblematic of the “new” Propeller. The company worked alongside Omnicom siblings TBWA\WorldHealth and Healthcare Consultancy Group on the account.

“That was special to us because, first and foremost, it’s an incredible product that is going to have a huge impact on patients,” Flax explains. “But it’s also special because we had an opportunity and we shared it. We knew that working together was going to be stronger than working independently.”

In the wake of the deal, Flax has focused on recalibrating Propeller’s teams so that they “value all strategic disciplines equally,” he explains.

“We’ll always have people who favor traditional brand strategy, and that’s great. But they need to recognize that they’re operating in a digital world, where segmentation and microtargeting are critical,” he adds. “And those who have been traditionally digital must recognize that targeting someone without understanding the content, brand and strategy is not effective.”

More than a year post-acquisition, Flax says that Propeller’s existence within the Omnicom machine still feels fresh to him. So it’s no surprise that, when asked about plans for the rest of 2023 and beyond, he conveys a palpable excitement about the opportunities that lie ahead — especially as they pertain to “activating the richness of resources” under the Omnicom aegis.

“We want to build by harnessing that power,” Flax says. “After you spend 16 years outside a holding company that’s rich in resources, when you get in there and look around the room you say, ‘Wow, I now have a much more powerful weapon that I can take advantage of.’ So that’s what we’re focusing on in 2023: using everything we now have at our disposal.” 

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Our marketing role model…

Under Armour is doing an unbelievable job of leveraging AI to pull through consumers’ online activity into relevant and memorable in-store experiences. It’s using AI to truly enhance its omnichannel marketing efforts. — Flax

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